Ed Joyce looking forward to T20 series
Ireland Women’s 20-month wait to return to the international arena will come to an end on Sunday as they take on Scotland in the first of four Twenty20’s at Stormont.
In what is their first international fixture since September 2019, the two teams will have further fixtures on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and become the first home matches an Irish international team will be permitted play in front of spectators since lockdown.
It will be a crucial series in terms of preparing for the T20 World Cup qualifying campaign later this summer.
Head coach Ed Joyce has named five uncapped players in his squad of 15 – including Instonians’ Amy Hunter – while Waringstown spinner Cara Murray is also selected.
Joyce is delighted that his squad will finally get back into action and wants them to enjoy the occasion after a long period of training.
“It’s been a long wait for the squad and management,” he told CricketEurope.
“We haven’t played since September 2019 so it has been a long wait. We had a couple of cancelled trips so we can’t wait to get out there.
“We’ve done a lot of really good training but there’s only so much you can get done in training.
“It’ll just be nice to play some international cricket against opposition that we haven’t seen in a while.
“They are a good side and they’ll be a good challenge for us.
“The overriding emotion is excitement about getting out there and playing again. I want the players and management to enjoy themselves.”
With the likes of Mary Waldron, Una Raymond-Hoey and Eimear Richardson all unavailable, it gives an opportunity for some new players to shine and Joyce is excited by the squad he has named.
“It’s quite a young squad,” he added.
“Some of our players are abroad so they weren’t available for selection.
“We are hopeful they will be available later on in the summer – coronavirus is obviously very hard to predict and the girls are in New Zealand and Australia and have stayed there for various good reasons.
“I’ve been chatting to them about plans and how we can possibly get them back into our squad because they make our team stronger.
“We are very excited about the younger players coming in.
“We have five uncapped players so there will be definitely be some new caps in this series which is great and we are looking forward to seeing how everyone gets on.
“It’s really the whole squad because we haven’t played for a long time so it feels like new caps for almost everybody to be honest.
“As head coach I’ve only had a couple of games to really get my teeth stuck into.
“We’ve had a good period of training and I’ve a much better idea of what I want from the team and what I think is important for the squad.
“Hopefully the weather gods shine on us at Stormont and we get to play all four games during the week.”
The series will be played from 23 to 27 May, and – in accordance with the Northern Ireland Executive’s guidelines - spectators will be able to attend matches in Northern Ireland from Monday 24 May.
The entry fee for matches at which spectators can attend will be £3, with all revenue raised from entry fees going to support the work of The Hope Foundation – Cricket Ireland’s official charity partner. For spectators, a number of COVID-19 guidelines will be in place, including hygiene stations and a track & trace system.
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